top of page

Vefrit fjármagnað af lesendum

Ef þér líkar við skrif okkar og efnistök og vilt sjá vefritið lifa og dafna þá er um að gera að gerast áskrifandi. Þinn stuðningur skiptir máli!

Letter from the North


New years letter, new year, holiday, winter, north, flemish, Ellen Wild, tradition, culture, úr vör, vefrit, Aron Ingi Guðmundsson
„ It’s incredibly freeing, knowing that your whole person is probably just something you made up. You don’t have to conform to anything! There is something deeper in you than childhood impressions.“ Photo by Aron Ingi Guðmundsson

Text: Ellen Wild


Dear reader,


Today I discovered that the concept of a “new-year-letter” is an isolated Flemish thing. I somehow assumed that this was universal, or at least, European. Alas, assumption is never really good for anything. Let me quickly fill you in: An (apparently typical Flemish) “new-year’s-letter” is a short letter, bringing sweet wishes and thank-yous in an adorable poem format. These “letters” are read by children between the ages of 3 and 12, to their parents and godparents, on the 1th of January.

The reason for yet another miniature culture chock, is that we celebrated the holidays in the North this year. We were very kindly invited into other houses by the fjord, to celebrate Christmas- and New Year’s Eve. It is on days of tradition as these, that the small differences in culture become very noticeable.

Traditions can be pretty odd things. Especially when they are relatively young and instilled by The Christian church just a few hundred years ago, such as the first of January. Or Christmas, which is doing a great job in distracting us from the winter solstice. A glitter-toy blinding us from the very ground under our feet, the very sky above our heads.

And somehow, every region has developed its own traditions and habits around it. What do you eat? When do you open gifts? It’s interesting thing to see adults acting so attached to their childhood memories. Like a buoy holding them afloat in these incredible uncertain times. From the “new-year’s-letter” to Norwegian nyttårsbukker to the Icelandic Yule Lads.

It’s just another reason why living abroad (or mingling with different cultures) is so incredibly healthy for you. It has the habit of removing your blinders. Again, and again and again. About how traditions and our whole damn society is just something we made up and kept doing. It’s incredibly freeing, knowing that your whole person is probably just something you made up. You don’t have to conform to anything! There is something deeper in you than childhood impressions.

But made-up or not, circling over specific time points every year gives us a great opportunity to check in with the world and with ourselves. Thus, on this day of tradition, I will offer you my new year’s letter.

May you once life a Christmas white,

Under the Northern sky so bright.

Stars behind the windows,

Stars above the northern light.

May you question life and yourself,

What is really important to you?

What is your place in this universe?

May you be kind,

To the earth and to your heart.

And may you always remember that there is nothing you do, say, think or buy, that has no influence on all and everyone around you. From your corner of the North, to the whole world. Happy new year from the fjords in the North,


Ellen


留言


bottom of page